MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesotans reacted to President Obama’s historic immigration reform Friday.
The plan will impact nearly five million undocumented immigrants.
Under the new rules, adults with children born in the U.S. or with permanent legal status can apply for a three year work permit.
There are more than 90,000 undocumented immigrants in Minnesota, according to Pew Research Center.
This change applies mostly to people who have been in the U.S. for several years, and doesn’t apply to anyone new who would enter the country illegally.
Some lawmakers said they are outraged the President bypassed Congress to make this decision.
Richfield resident Daniel del Toro has been an undocumented immigrant for more than 20 years.
He said he crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. when he was 12-years-old, after his parents died.
He addressed a South Minneapolis crowd celebrating the reform on Friday.
“We are hardworking and we try to do as good as any other citizen,” he said.
Because his children are American-born, del Toro qualifies to apply for a deferred deportation under Obama’s action.
“I do feel some relief,” he said.
While the reform is temporary, del Toro said it is better than nothing.
President Obama has said he passed the order without help from Congress because lawmakers have failed to pass any immigration reform.
Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downy said Friday the plan is an abuse of power.
“This is one person unilaterally jamming something through, clearly in the face of what the public said to him back November – work with the public on these key issues,” Downey said.
Republicans across the country have vowed not to give up on passing a permanent solution to illegal immigration.
The Pew Research Center reports undocumented immigrants make up 1.8 percent of Minnesota’s population, and 2.5 percent of the workforce.